Style + Ask the Edit

Ask the Edit: Vol. II, No. Four

Today has been a rough one.  But it’s time to pick myself up, order some Taco Bell, and answer some reader questions.  Let’s go.

Hey Abra!

Longtime reader, first time emailer 🙂 I was lucky enough to be gifted a professional photoshoot outdoors this fall, and I am stumped on what to wear. I gave it a google and all I got were 2012-looking Christian Girl Autumn looks. What are people in their 30s wearing after a year of sweatpants for what will hopefully be some great family photos to look back on? I’m stumped!


I know exactly what photos you found.  I see oversized plaid scarves and barrel curls.  This look is not for everyone, so if it is not for you, let’s brainstorm.

First, I think denim on bottom is the way to go.  It’s easy, you can roll around in leaves and dirt and lean up against rustic fences, and you won’t worry about ruining your clothes.

If you haven’t worn jeans in a while and you’re worried they won’t fit or even just be comfortable, you have two options: 1) order your favorite pair one size larger (you can tailor them down if you decide staying the new size isn’t what you want), and 2) you can order a pair of pull-on denim leggings (plus-size version).

Jeggings is an extreme solution, but they’re comfortable, and no one who sees the photos will be able to tell the difference.  Think of what will make you feel your best when you’re thinking about what to wear for photos, right now, in a COVID world, I am not above pull-in denim.

Second, I like an ivory sweater on top.  It’s fresh.  It’s light.  It feels casual, but gives you that pulled-together look when paired with the right accessories.  I’d wear my Free People tunic.  You might prefer a v-neck cashmere or a cable knit pullover.  It’s a look that perfectly bridges the gap between “I threw this on” and “I look great.”

You can also add a top layer.  A leather moto jacket.  A great overcoat in a cool color (eggplant, mauve, forest green).  A chunky cardigan in a coordinating neutral.  Whatever you’d like.

Then, finish the whole look off with an earring that’s pretty and interesting, but doesn’t steal the show.

Finally, spend a little time on your hair and makeup.  If you’ve ever wanted to hire a personal makeup artist, many cities have local services like GlamSquad.  If not, just spend a little more time on your makeup and hair, and get yourself a good, hydrating mask to up that glow factor.

{censored} TikTok! Clinique Black Honey went TikTok viral and now I can’t find a stick of it anywhere.  I’ve worn it for 20 years.  I’m out.  I need a replacement or a secret source.


This e-mail got answered because it made me laugh so hard, I did an actual spit take.

For those of you who don’t know, Clinique’s Black Honey is the ride-or-die lip color for many of us in our 30s and 40s because it looks awesome on almost everyone.  It’s sheer and pretty and fantastic. And it’s having a bit of a moment right now, so it is impossible to find.

I did some digging, and HSN seems to have it.  Probably because home shopping was before their time.  Dillard’s also seems to have it.  If that doesn’t work, ELF has a dupe that’s similar.


I need a pair of cool sneakers for a 40th birthday party.  My brother is a total sneaker head and he’s calling it a Cool Kicks Costume Party.  Do you know which way I should take this since I don’t wear sneakers and what I can buy him as a gift?  Can Kyle help here.

Thank you.  Love the blog. HP

If he’s a sneaker head, he’s probably all about Nike.  My husband is.  And I’ve watched total strangers cross streets to ask about his sneakers.  So I think Nike is your safest option.

I found this pair of high tops and this pair of classic, waffle low tops.  You can’t go wrong showing up in a Jordan or classic style in a cool color.

Need a gift for your brother?  Grab something from the Nike Off White collaboration.  People who know go nuts for them, and they hold value.  High tops or low tops.  And if he just collects and doesn’t wear, my husband says to buy size 12s.

Want to go totally now?  Travis Scott’s collab with Nike is popular.

(Now, Kyle’s in my office talking about sneakers, so I need to roust him out.  See you next week.)

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  1. Rachel says:

    A quick heads up for anyone who hasn’t yet purchased it (or if you’re like me, and need a third one…): the Free People Ottoman tunic in ivory that Abra linked to is also on sale right now at Nordstrom Rack (sizes XS and S still available):

    September 15, 2021/Reply
    • Niki says:

      Oh dang!! I was so excited but then went to check my closet and this is one of the four colors I already have 😭🤣😭

      September 15, 2021/Reply
  2. Jess says:

    First off, yes to Taco Bell. I had some for the first time in more than a year and it was delicious….of which I am slightly ashamed to admit.

    And second, I had to laugh about the tiktok. My daughter uses Panoxyl and that apparently had a moment too, and as we were trying to get a small stash of college extras she was devastated that tiktok obliterated the supply everywhere! It came back fast though, so fear not, hopefully Black Honey is only a couple weeks out!

    September 15, 2021/Reply
  3. Cindi says:

    I havent thought about Black Honey from Clinique in years! I used to wear it all the time! Of course I ordered it!

    September 15, 2021/Reply
  4. M says:

    I just want to say thank you for the thoughtful and gentle way you referenced sizing/weight gain. As someone who is trying to learn body neutrality, your phrasing really jumped out to me in an affirming way. Like yes maybe I will decide to stay this weight, maybe I won’t, either are okay, as long as it’s what I want. Should feel so fresh but it really does.

    September 15, 2021/Reply
    • Amanda says:


      September 16, 2021/Reply
  5. Naomi says:

    Who wants to teach me how to style sneakers? I just bought a fun, *very* colorful pair on a whim, but now I have no idea how I’m going to wear them….

    September 15, 2021/Reply
  6. Jill says:

    I love the sneaker talk. Would Kyle do a guest post? I am not at all a sneaker head but I find the culture so fascinating. Those shoes are totally wild and so expensive and I don’t totally understand it, but I love it.

    Hope your weekend is restorative.

    September 16, 2021/Reply
    • J says:

      Seconded. I’m also fascinated by the culture, and I’m starting to recognize the sneakers younger people are wearing around me (looks like Nike Air Force 1s for the most part!).

      September 17, 2021/Reply
  7. Caitlin f says:

    “Christian Girl Autumn” made me do a spit-take too. Anyone who’s spent any time on pinterest knows EXACTLY what you’re talking about…

    SandyALaMode has done some “styling fall photoshoots” type posts, but YMMV since she is a mom in Utah. Not loudly Christian though!

    October 5, 2021/Reply